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  1. #1
    Administrator Joe Blow's Avatar
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    Lightbulb ASF policy on forum spam

    Spam has become a big problem at Aussie Stock Forums.

    As ASF has grown, the amount of individuals wishing to spam their products, services or websites on the forums has increased markedly.

    ASF relies entirely on advertising revenue to cover its costs, which continue to increase along with ASF's membership. Allowing individuals to spam the forums with their products or services not only undermines the legitimate advertising on the site but encourages others to spam as well.

    Here are some guidelines to let people know what is acceptable and what isn't.

    Vendors are not allowed to promote their own products or services on ASF other than to have a link to their website in their signature. The only exceptions to this rule is if they are responding to a genuine query from an ASF member or correcting incorrect or misleading information about their product or service that has been posted to the forums by someone else.

    Vendors who pose as satisfied customers or vouch for their own products or services without identifying themselves as the vendor will have their ASF account permanently suspended as this is considered to be misrepresentation.

    Fair comment and the open discussion of various products or services is encouraged at ASF, but the constant referencing of a particular product or service in unrelated threads, especially by the same user, is considered spam and will be removed. Those who persist in this practice after being warned will have their accounts suspended.

    This also extends to the spamming of other websites/forums/blogs. While the linking to relevant content on other websites is allowed and encouraged, repeatedly linking to another website for the sole purpose of driving visitors to it is considered spamming and is not permitted.

    When linking to content on other websites, it must be able to be viewed without the visitor having to register first. If registration is required, we ask instead that you obtain permission from the author to repost it on ASF.

    The use of affiliate links/codes in signatures or in posts on ASF is strictly forbidden. There are no exceptions to this rule.

    If you feel that ASF has been of benefit to you in some way... or if you simply enjoy visiting the site and would like to see it thrive, please consider supporting our paying advertisers. That is the best way of supporting ASF. Without paying advertisers, ASF would cease to exist... and advertisers will only continue to advertise as long as they see some results.

    As always, any support you can offer is sincerely appreciated!

    If anyone has any questions or would like me to clarify something, please let me know in this thread.
    Last edited by Joe Blow; 22nd-October-2012 at 11:14 PM. Reason: Updated

  2. #2

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Blow View Post
    The use of affiliate links/codes in signatures or in posts on ASF is strictly forbidden. There are no exceptions to this rule.
    I have no idea what this means. What's an affiliate link/code?

  3. #3

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Quote Originally Posted by Smurf1976 View Post
    I have no idea what this means. What's an affiliate link/code?
    Hi Smurf - An affiliate link is a URL with an affiliate code embedded in it so that when it is clicked upon, and a sale of the product promoted is made, the individual (identified by the code) usually gets a percentage commission of the sale.

    An example affiliate link would be: www.i-love-spam.com/?aff=50

    If people have a website/blog they wish to promote via their signature that's fine, but I draw the line at people using affiliate links on ASF.

  4. #4

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Just bumping this thread to remind everyone about our policy on forum spam.

    Recently I have been noticing that quite a few threads have been started that consist solely of material cut and pasted from that individual's blog, complete with a link to their blog in their signature. These individuals are almost always new members whose sole purpose here at ASF is to drive traffic to their blog.

    I have no problem with people using material from their blog to generate discussion in new threads on ASF as long as it is presented in such a way as to encourage input from others. In other words, feedback or debate must be actively sought after by the thread starter.

    However, simply cuting and pasting blog entries in their entirety into new threads is not an acceptable practice. Cutting and pasting articles from other sources on the web without an accompanying commentary by the thread starter is also not an acceptable practice. Threads on ASF are intended for discussion and debate and must be presented in that way.

    Those wishing simply to blog about particular topics can feel free to start a blog here at ASF: http://www.aussiestockforums.com/forums/blog.php

  5. #5

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Hi joe ,,, is the providing of links for research or say business spectator etc for news stuff considered in this spam thing ? i dont really get it . ive posted links to a few places just unsure if they are acceptable here or not

    cheers

  6. #6

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Quote Originally Posted by nunthewiser View Post
    Hi joe ,,, is the providing of links for research or say business spectator etc for news stuff considered in this spam thing ? i dont really get it . ive posted links to a few places just unsure if they are acceptable here or not

    cheers
    Links to other websites are fine as they as they relate directly to the content of your post.

    What I am attempting to stamp out is the practice of people starting threads with cut and pasted material (and nothing else) with the sole intention of driving traffic to websites in their signature. Threads must be presented in such a way as to encourage debate or discussion. After all, that is what forums like ASF are all about.

  7. #7

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Blow View Post
    Links to other websites are fine as they as they relate directly to the content of your post.

    What I am attempting to stamp out is the practice of people starting threads with cut and pasted material (and nothing else) with the sole intention of driving traffic to websites in their signature. Threads must be presented in such a way as to encourage debate or discussion. After all, that is what forums like ASF are all about.
    no worries and fair enough too

  8. #8

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    We have been experiencing a little more spam than usual recently so I thought I would bump this thread as a reminder about ASF's policy on the issue.

    I would also like to ask for the co-operation of ASF's members in helping to identify any spam posts or threads as soon as possible after they are posted.

    The modus operandi of most spammers is remarkably similar:

    If it is for an unrelated product or service there is usually no subtlety at all. The spammer posts a new thread or adds a post to an existing thread with a sales pitch and a link to their website. The spammer may make one post or several.

    If it is for a related product or service the technique employed can be slightly more sophisticated. Usually a new thread is started in the relevant forum asking for feedback about a particular product or service, usually listing a few selling points and containing a link to their website. This is usually their first post on ASF. Sometimes these enquiries are genuine and sometimes they are bogus. The mods and I have various ways of determining whether or not these enquiries are posted by genuine individuals or those attempting to spam a product or service.

    Another technique employed is for the spammer to dig up every thread related to their product or service and post about how wonderful the product or service is.

    If you suspect someone is attempting to spam a product or service on ASF please report the post in question by clicking on the '' symbol and we will do our best to determine whether or not the enquiry is genuine.

    Thank you all for your co-operation!

  9. #9

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    I would like to add that if it is established beyond doubt that a product or service is being spammed on ASF by those associated with it, we will prohibit further discussion of the product or service in question and the URL will be permanently added to the banned words list.

    So please, if you are thinking of posting spam on ASF, be sure to carefully consider the consequences first.

  10. #10

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Blow View Post
    I would like to add that if it is established beyond doubt that a product or service is being spammed on ASF by those associated with it, we will prohibit further discussion of the product or service in question and the URL will be permanently added to the banned words list.

    So please, if you are thinking of posting spam on ASF, be sure to carefully consider the consequences first.
    We have experienced an upswing in the incidence of spamming on ASF and I just wanted to remind those who are thinking of spamming ASF with their product or service that it is now standard practice for us to permanently ban all discussion of spammed products or services. We also immediately add the spammer's URL to the forum software's banned words list so it will never be seen on ASF again. Ever.

    ASF's moderators take a lot of joy in deleting spam and the odds are a new spam thread will last all of about five minutes. Quite a large price to pay for such limited exposure wouldn't you say?

    I would also like to take this opportunity to remind ASF members to please support ASF's paying advertisers, as they are the ones who put their money where their mouth is and keep us online. If it wasn't for those who pay to advertise here at ASF, well, there would be no ASF at all.

    Thank you all for your continued support.

  11. #11

    Default Guidance please...

    Hi there,

    I had just typed a post on here and in some of the other forum areas offering info about a Forex trading course thinking I'd be offering something of interest, especially as it seemed relevant to some of the questions that were being asked.

    I'm new to forums and didn't know this wasn't allowed as apparently it's spamming. Can someone tell me how this works? Are you not meant to mention courses unless someone asks about them specifically? Just a little confused as spamming really wasn't my intention. Certainly wasn't the first impression I wanted to leave!!

    Thanks for your help!

  12. #12
    Commonsense isn't that common nomore4s's Avatar
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    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Tidy Trader,

    Please read this thread especially the 1st post and if in doubt contact Joe Blow via PM.

    Please refer the the posting guidelines as well, especially this point.

    8. Any promotional or special offers by merchants or advertisers must first be authorised by the site adminstrator before being posted to the forums. Any unauthorised promotions will be considered spam and deleted. To review our policy on forum spam, please see this thread: http://www.aussiestockforums.com/for...ead.php?t=9574


    Thank you.
    All things are difficult before they are easy.
    Keith's Art

  13. #13

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    At ASF we get a lot of people who start a thread into which they simply cut and paste analysis with no intention of ever entering into discussion with other ASF members. Invariably, this cut and paste analysis is accompanied by a link to whatever website they are here to promote. These individuals usually never post anything else other than this cut and paste analysis and their presence here is solely to build up backlinks to their website.

    These kind of threads are not permitted. Forums like ASF are for debate and discussion, not drive-by spam.

    ASF members are more than welcome to post analysis as long as they are prepared to enter into discussion with other members about any analysis they post.

    Also, please do not post links to your website in your posts. ASF members are entitled to have a link to their website in their signature but linking to your website from within your posts is not permitted.

  14. #14

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    The moderators and I have noticed an increase in the amount of people "enquiring" about products or services on ASF recently. Often these "enquiries" are about newsletters, advisory services or software costing many thousands of dollars.

    Not surprisingly, it seems that more often than not the person doing the enquiring has never posted on ASF before, or if they have, it's often to "enquire" about another product or service.

    As I'm sure you can imagine, much of this is deliberate spam rather than genuine enquiries about a product or service.

    In an attempt to cut down on the amount of this kind of spam on ASF, effective immediately all new threads started in the "Trading/Investing Resources" forum (and its subforums) will now have to be manually approved by myself or one of the moderators before it's displayed for all to see. This will give us an opportunity to do a bit of investigating before approving the thread and hopefully, as a result, we will see more genuine enquiries and less spam!

  15. #15

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Blow View Post
    The moderators and I have noticed an increase in the amount of people "enquiring" about products or services on ASF recently. Often these "enquiries" are about newsletters, advisory services or software costing many thousands of dollars.

    Not surprisingly, it seems that more often than not the person doing the enquiring has never posted on ASF before, or if they have, it's often to "enquire" about another product or service.

    As I'm sure you can imagine, much of this is deliberate spam rather than genuine enquiries about a product or service.

    In an attempt to cut down on the amount of this kind of spam on ASF, effective immediately all new threads started in the "Trading/Investing Resources" forum (and its subforums) will now have to be manually approved by myself or one of the moderators before it's displayed for all to see. This will give us an opportunity to do a bit of investigating before approving the thread and hopefully, as a result, we will see more genuine enquiries and less spam!
    Dear Joe and Mods

    I noticed this thread for the first time and was intrigued to follow the history of postings.

    I found you have been constantly raising your concerns on some of the ASF members putting link to their blogs and / or some other advertisement sites which are not permissible.

    The very fact you almost on every three months have been reminding people not to do so, indicates your Samaritan type of cautions are not yielding the outcome you have been looking for. You like others are getting frustrated and I fully understand it.

    With your permission can I provide my suggestion ?

    Why not just hold the suspected poster and issue an infringement or similar deterent notice.

    One or two strikes as you see based on gravity of the case and just stop the offenders to participate into ASF or to post any future thread.

    If you have exercised this what could be missing is to publish in the forum about the actions taken. This will tell offenders that you meant business.
    There should not be any privacy issue as almost 95% of the people use their pen names. So no one should be knowing the real names of the offenders even you publish the pen names.

    I am 110% sure people falling into 5% cateogry are sensible and matured enough not to indulge into such activities any way. That is why they have also chosen their real names.

    So no one else's identity is disclosed excepting showing people that you walk and talk.

    Submitted for your and others comments to make it a rationalised campaign to stop spam.


    Cheers
    Miner :
    All sellers are inevitably, and by the meaning of the word, buyers so DYOR .

  16. #16

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Hi Miner,

    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    I found you have been constantly raising your concerns on some of the ASF members putting link to their blogs and / or some other advertisement sites which are not permissible.
    Links to blogs and websites can be placed in people's signatures without it being against site rules. It's when people post links to their blogs or websites in their posts that they violate the rules.

    Although links in signatures are also often prone to abuse and as a result of this I will be making the rules for signatures much clearer in the very near future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    The very fact you almost on every three months have been reminding people not to do so, indicates your Samaritan type of cautions are not yielding the outcome you have been looking for. You like others are getting frustrated and I fully understand it.
    We do have some problems with spammers but we have also become increasingly adept at identifying spam. This is primarily due to common patterns of posting and behaviour that spammers exhibit. We also have other means to identify them, but we had better not give away all our secrets. After all, we need to have an advantage over those who would use ASF to spam their product or service.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    With your permission can I provide my suggestion ?
    Suggestions are always welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    Why not just hold the suspected poster and issue an infringement or similar deterent notice.

    One or two strikes as you see based on gravity of the case and just stop the offenders to participate into ASF or to post any future thread.
    This has been the way we have done things up until now. Usually, we have deleted threads and warned or infracted those who we believed to be spammers. It is impossible to be correct 100% of the time and I 'm sure that occasionally we have gotten it wrong.

    This way, threads enquiring about products or services wont even see the light of day until we have an opportunity to investigate the product/service and the individual posting it, including their posting history.

    Hopefully this method will have a higher success rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    If you have exercised this what could be missing is to publish in the forum about the actions taken. This will tell offenders that you meant business.
    There should not be any privacy issue as almost 95% of the people use their pen names. So no one should be knowing the real names of the offenders even you publish the pen names.
    I'm not a big fan of "name and shame" although I do it on occasion when it can be demonstrated with 100% certainty that a representative of a company is misleading or deceiving ASF members. However, I usually only do this in a thread that has already been active for some time and when deleting it is problematic.

    Most of the time we just delete spam outright and add the URL of the website to ASFs banned words list.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miner View Post
    Submitted for your and others comments to make it a rationalised campaign to stop spam.
    Thanks for your feedback Miner. It's very much appreciated. Spam is a big problem at ASF because of the amount of people that visit us every day. It's a fairly big audience to spam to. The moderators and I spend a lot of time investigating spam and attempting to ensure that enquiries about products or services are genuine and not the result of a vendor (or someone associated with them) trying to generate interest in whatever they happen to be flogging.

    ASF members can assist us by reporting any posts they believe to be potential spam or suspicious in some way. All reported posts will be investigated thoroughly. Thankfully, ASF is a very proactive community and that helps the moderators and I keep the site as clean as possible.

  17. #17

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Blow View Post
    Hi Miner,



    Links to blogs and websites can be placed in people's signatures without it being against site rules. It's when people post links to their blogs or websites in their posts that they violate the rules.

    Although links in signatures are also often prone to abuse and as a result of this I will be making the rules for signatures much clearer in the very near future.



    We do have some problems with spammers but we have also become increasingly adept at identifying spam. This is primarily due to common patterns of posting and behaviour that spammers exhibit. We also have other means to identify them, but we had better not give away all our secrets. After all, we need to have an advantage over those who would use ASF to spam their product or service.



    Suggestions are always welcome.



    This has been the way we have done things up until now. Usually, we have deleted threads and warned or infracted those who we believed to be spammers. It is impossible to be correct 100% of the time and I 'm sure that occasionally we have gotten it wrong.

    This way, threads enquiring about products or services wont even see the light of day until we have an opportunity to investigate the product/service and the individual posting it, including their posting history.

    Hopefully this method will have a higher success rate.



    I'm not a big fan of "name and shame" although I do it on occasion when it can be demonstrated with 100% certainty that a representative of a company is misleading or deceiving ASF members. However, I usually only do this in a thread that has already been active for some time and when deleting it is problematic.

    Most of the time we just delete spam outright and add the URL of the website to ASFs banned words list.



    Thanks for your feedback Miner. It's very much appreciated. Spam is a big problem at ASF because of the amount of people that visit us every day. It's a fairly big audience to spam to. The moderators and I spend a lot of time investigating spam and attempting to ensure that enquiries about products or services are genuine and not the result of a vendor (or someone associated with them) trying to generate interest in whatever they happen to be flogging.

    ASF members can assist us by reporting any posts they believe to be potential spam or suspicious in some way. All reported posts will be investigated thoroughly. Thankfully, ASF is a very proactive community and that helps the moderators and I keep the site as clean as possible.
    That was very kind of you Joe to go through my points and responding them very professionally with due care.

    God Bless ASF and I sincerely thank you for your time.

    Regards
    Miner :
    All sellers are inevitably, and by the meaning of the word, buyers so DYOR .

  18. #18

    Default Re: ASF policy on forum spam

    Hi Joe,

    I also wish to thank you publicly for your advice on how to deal with direct SPAM, where someone spammed me (and probably others too) by direct email, in the guise of ASF membership. Thanks also for the reassurance that they couldn't see my email address, but had to pass it through ASF.

    Not only have I placed that individual on my blocked senders list; I have also taken your advice and turned off the option in my profile.

    Anybody wishing to get in touch can do so by IM and leaving their email address; that way, I can make the call whether I'm interested. But an unsigned invitation to reply won't endear me to try a new contact - especially when the stated name "... @ aussiestockforums..." links to a totally different trunk.
    The early bird makes the early worm look pretty stupid.

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